Arlington County is planning to partner with Nestlé and the Arlington Community Foundation to create a child care scholarship program.
The Shared Prosperity Child Care Scholarship Program is paid for by a $200,000 donation from Nestlé, the multinational food and drink company that recently expanded its U.S. headquarters in Rosslyn. Nestlé’s baby food subsidiary Gerber is also located in Rosslyn.
The aim of the scholarship would be to help low-income families in Arlington get access to child care. A staff report laid out the qualifications for families:
- Participating households’ gross income must be at or below 30% of the Area Median Income at the time of application to the program.
- Participating households must be ineligible for child care assistance through the Virginia Department of Social Services Child Care Subsidy Program.
- All parents or guardians present in participating households must be involved in a work activity, attending school or training, or actively searching for employment.
- Participating households must be willing and able to contribute 5% of their gross income toward the cost of care.
Acceptance of the funding is tricky because technically the County Board cannot direct money to individuals.
“The County Board has limited authority to grant monies directly to private individuals,” the staff report noted. “However, the Board is permitted under Section 63.2-314 of the Code of Virginia to grant monies to the local board of social services, and the local board of social services is authorized to make grants to aid needy persons within Arlington”
The staff report estimated that the scholarship will be able to serve up to seven children for a maximum of two years.
“This will enable parents or guardians in participating households to search for employment, attend school or training, or participate in a work activity, and it will ensure that their children are afforded consistent access to high-quality early childhood programs.”